What would you take with you if you were evacuated?

The cov­er­age last month of the fires in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia includ­ed sev­er­al sto­ries of peo­ple being evac­u­at­ed with just a few min­utes notice. Invari­ably, some­thing was left behind. It got me think­ing.

If I had a fif­teen min­utes to pack before being evac­u­at­ed, what would I take with me? We have two cars, and I am assum­ing we would be allowed to take both. First thing I’d do is strap the kids into their car seats, each with a coat from the coa­track. With them out of the way, I’d send the wife to throw cloth­ing into our lug­gage, and I’d shout after her to not for­get the dia­pers. Oy, do not for­get the dia­pers. While she is upstairs, I’d busy myself with some of the intan­gi­bles.

Here’s the list I came up with:

  • Clothes, most­ly dumped whole­sale from draw­ers into lug­gage.
  • Med­i­cine, con­ve­nient­ly in the hall clos­et in labeled bins.
  • Dia­pers. A cot farm in the Astrodome is not the place to begin pot­ty-train­ing.
  • Cell phone charg­ers. So many peo­ple in the San Diego area for­got to take their charg­ers with them, and had to beg for a charg­er from the Red Cross, or from their neigh­bors on the next cot. A place to plug them in is anoth­er prob­lem.
  • My lap­top and the NAS. The NAS (net­work attached stor­age device) is nice and com­pact, and has all of our data on it. Pic­tures, movies, music, doc­u­ments, every­thing. The NAS would be a pri­or­i­ty over the lap­top, actu­al­ly.
  • Dog. I don’t care if they wouldn’t let me in to the shelter/Astrodome/Red Cross tent camp with my dog, I would not leave him behind. I’ll sleep in the car with him before leav­ing him to fend for him­self. Dog food. Leash.
  • Our doc­u­ment safe… if we had one. We’ve talked about get­ting one, just haven’t pulled the trig­ger on it. Prob­a­bly should.
  • The still-unopened-from-our-move box labeled, “Mem­o­ries” which has let­ters and un-scanned pho­tographs and stuff.
  • Flash­light
  • Pho­to albums (there are only about four or five)
  • The Bag
  • Pass­ports, which should nor­mal­ly live in the doc­u­ment safe, eh?

And I think that’s it. There’s an end­less sup­ply of stuff I could be enticed to bring along, from art­work to books to elec­tron­ics, and some of it might be use­ful for barter in the post-civ­i­liza­tion era, but I am assum­ing we’d get back to our (burned-out-shell-of-a?) house even­tu­al­ly. If I had time to dig through our stor­age I might try to bring sleep­ing bags or pon­chos or blan­kets or some­thing more along the sur­vival line, but with only fif­teen min­utes I think my time would be tapped out with the list above.

What would you bring?